This article is sponsored by Canon as part of WhatTheyThink's Print Software Product Spotlight series. In preparing this article, the WhatTheyThink Print Software Section editors conducted original, in-depth research on Canon’s PRISMAprepare Go product.  This Product Spotlight describes what the editors feel are the product’s strengths in the marketplace. Canon reviewed the final article for accuracy but had no editorial control over the content.

The market conditions over the last decade have seen a relatively consistent trend towards smaller digital print jobs, with faster turnaround times and greater desire for customers to do more in a self-service fashion via any connected device. These trends have impacted companies of all sizes in the print industry. The response has been the launch of many software solutions to solve these challenges. Whenever you introduce technology into a business, it comes with overhead or what I like to call “technical debt.” Technical debt are the resources and expertise required for the care and feeding of the technology. All too often, solutions are created without enough attention to the technical debt the solution will impose on the print business. In many cases, software solutions have more technical debt than a print business can handle. Complex technology requires technical skills to implement, run, and maintain. When small print businesses are shopping for technology, it is vital that they choose technology that solves their challenges and can be deployed with their resources and skill sets. You can’t just look at features when shopping for software solutions, you must look at whether your company has the skills to utilize the solution successfully.

PRISMAprepare Go from Canon is a pre-production workflow solution. It tackles the challenges of “upload and print” job submission, order management, preflight, and order status. PRISMAprepare Go is targeted at small print providers. In reviewing the solution, all the strengths relate back to the focus on how to reduce the technical debt of the solution. PRISMAprepare Go can be deployed and optimized in a small print facility whose primary business is processing small “upload and print” orders.

Removing the need for local IT/technical resources is a critical component to making a software solution usable for small businesses. Luckily the cloud has provided a great foundation where vendors can host and deploy software solutions in a manner that makes the only on-site requirement be reliable internet access. PRISMAprepare Go is a cloud-based solution with a very easy setup that removes the need for dedicated IT skills at the printer. This lays the foundation for a very low technical debt solution that is deployable at even the smallest print businesses.

Software solutions for large businesses have tended to specialize on specific challenges with the expectation that there would be an integrated suite of software solutions solving your end-to-end workflow. In smaller print businesses, integrated suites require too much IT overhead and expertise to be feasible. PRISMAprepare Go tackles all the primary pre-production challenges in one product: customer order submission, preflight/prepress, imposition, order status/tracking, and delivery to output engines. This keeps the solution simple to deploy and use, lowering the technical debt to a reasonable level for small print businesses.

Another important factor in small print businesses is the predominance of the “upload and print” job type. For small printers, this is the primary job that fuels their business. They are not doing a lot of reordering of static jobs or complex variable data. They do not need private online portals for each of their customers. Their needs are centralized in the “upload and print” world. Web-to-print solutions in the print industry have migrated upstream to cataloging of static products, specific portals for large customers, and complex variable data. In fact, many web-to-print solutions have no solution for the “upload and print” job challenges. PRISMAprepare Go focuses on the primary job type at the smaller printers. It provides a tool that allows the smallest print provider an opportunity to move their customers out of email and into a cloud-based system.

As the labor market becomes more challenging, all areas of your business should be considered for ways to automate in order to expand what your current labor resource pool can handle. Human resources are vital to your business, you just want them to be doing only the tasks that really require human thinking. If all your customer interactions are still via email, you basically haven’t given the pre-production employees a new tool in decades. When your customer’s only connection to you is an email address, that’s a very easy thing to change. When you provide a tool that gives your customers a deeper relationship with you and access to their business data (e.g., order history), you create a more embedded relationship.

PRISMAprepare Go was built specifically targeting small print providers, reducing the technical debt down to a reasonable level. A combination of cloud-based, easy to implement, and easy-to-use delivers the value required to upgrade your order entry and order management from email and scale your pre-production area without adding labor.